Know thy en­emy – Pitso

North African sides have lit­tle mystery to them, in­sists Sun­downs’ Mosi­mane

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MATSHELANE MAMABOLO

PITSO MO-SIMANE does not ex­pect Wy­dad Casablanca to get overly ex­ited by Mamelodi Sun­downs’ poor home record in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League group stages.

Win­less in all three of their games at the Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium, Sun­downs will host the Moroc­cans over the weekend of Septem­ber 8-10 in the quar­ter-fi­nal, first leg, of the con­ti­nent’s premier club knock­out com­pe­ti­tion.

The unim­pres­sive record (two draws and a de­feat) not­with­stand­ing, the coach of the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons does not an­tic­i­pate Wy­dad to come to At­teridgeville look­ing to kill the match off as a con­test with a re­sound­ing vic­tory.

“Pos­si­bly (they may fancy their chances of win­ning). But will Wy­dad change the way they play be­cause of Sun­downs’ poor form?” Mosi­mane,

pic­tured, won­dered aloud dur­ing the post match conference of his team’s 1-1 draw with AS Vita on Sun­day night.

“Now, you change the whole thing that has made you go to the semi-fi­nal of the Cham­pi­ons League last year and you are now in the quar­ter-fi­nals. What if it back­fires?

“You’ve got to be very care­ful.

“Not many coaches can just wake up in the morning and change, be­cause it is risky. Maybe in high school foot­ball you can do that but not at Cham­pi­ons League level.”

And so it is a fa­mil­iar foe Mosi­mane is ex­pect­ing when the two teams meet in two months’ time.

“I’ve seen Wy­dad play­ing away in Zam­bia. I saw Wy­dad at Asec and I saw them lose 2-0 at Al Ahly. I know what their men­tal­ity is.

“They don’t love to play away, so they try to keep you at 0-0 be­cause they know that at home they’ll score one, maybe from a free kick.

“So, you have to play in their faces and be tight on them be­cause they are com­bi­na­tion play­ers, not big on in­di­vid­ual skills.”

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously got­ten the bet­ter of other north African teams, Mosi­mane is con­fi­dent Sun­downs can over­come Wy­dad.

“The north African teams – the big boys – Wy­dad, Usma, Za­malek, Al Ahly, Esper­ance, Etoile, they all play al­most the same way. The men­tal­ity is the same and the ag­gres­sion is the same.

“They are dan­ger­ous on set pieces and are gen­er­ally very or­gan­ised teams who rely lots of com­bi­na­tion plays.”

He be­lieves he has them fig­ured out.

“They are al­ways out there try­ing to an­noy you by fall­ing for a penalty or get­ting you booked, they go to the ref­er­ees to com­plain or kick the ball out of play.

“I’ve taught my boys to un­der­stand these things and deal with it.”

He pointed to his team’s re­sults against ES Setif, Za­malek and Esper­ance as proof Sun­downs have the north Africans fig­ured out. Still, he says there’s no set for­mula.

“We know we have to try and kill them here. But there’s no for­mula and I know we can draw here and go and win away. We know how to play them away … Keep them at 0-0 for a long time.

“We did it at Setif; Za­malek twice and Esper­ance, no is­sues be­cause there’s re­ally no dif­fer­ence be­tween all those teams.”

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